A blogger buddy of mine, Jill Weatherholt, mentioned some weeks ago that she would like to see the fall colors on the trees around our new Tennessee home. So, I’m sending a couple of pictures, along with some rambling commentary…
Here at this time of year on Tennessee’s Cumberland Plateau among the maple and oak trees the profusion of color delights the senses and it brings out the philosophical and the soulful part of me. My words will not come as terribly original, but they are important for me to say them. Other artists and poets have captured these thoughts and moments for centuries. I wish only to respond to some compelling desire within me.
There is the obvious planetary orbiting of our spinning orb that brings us to this time of year, designed by God or by the ‘Big Bang’ – a choice that divides many of us humans. If you have read some of my previous blog posts and books, my choice would be quite obvious. In my finite mind it is incomprehensible that a ‘Big Bang’ brought such planetary order, the seasons, you and me. The fact that the human mind can create language and words that can titillate us in so many ways, that a particular hand and brush can paint a masterpiece, that other hands can build cities, bridges, roads, or a magnificent sculpture, it all speaks for me of the soul of Man – of the darkness that abides therein for some or the unlimited joy and vivacity of others. Mother Teresa said, “Life is beauty, admire it.” So I do and shall.
It is that time of year when nature speaks to us in subtle ways. Of course, there is a scientific way of describing fall, the bountiful leaves of so many dazzling colors and their falling to put their branches barren until the spring. It is the time of year when old men feel the cold, see the shedding of the beautiful leaves, and yearn for youth that is lost to them but happy to know they live on and can rejoice in their accomplishments. It is that time of year that signifies the shedding those parts of you that have disappointed and kept you frustrated. For some, it is that time of year when they think about the natural order of things and prepare to give thanks to God for their blessings. For others, it is a time of weeping for a lost loved one and troubles that are difficult to bear.
Here on the Cumberland Plateau I’m absorbed in brilliantly colored leaves, watching them slowly drop to the ground and on my deck for sweeping. A year ago I was on the Sea of Cortez in Mexico living on the beach. The southern boy has returned home but he still carries the vision of the sea and small fishing village he left a few months ago. Now, instead of the sparkling cobalt beauty of the ‘Cortez’ stretching to a horizon of poets dreams, I sit and gaze across a spectacular canyon of trees and river, watch the multi-colored leaves float in the breeze, fancy myself a poet, and dream… As English Romantic poet John Keats so eloquently put it: “A thing of beauty is a joy forever.”
There are no regrets in my return to Tennessee, so, sorry, Thomas Wolfe, I could and did come home again. With my wanderlust nature, where could I be next year at this time? Where it is that I might be at any given year, the memories and the beauty of my past moments will gather like these falling leaves. As Mother Teresa also said: “Life is a dream, realize it.”
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